Friday, September 12, 2014

Looking with faith on the Crucified One

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
September 14, 2014

John 3:13-17

The feast we Christians celebrate today is incomprehensible and even absurd for those who do not know the meaning of the Christian faith in the Crucified One. What meaning could a feast called "Exaltation of the Cross" have in a society that passionately seeks "comfort," convenience, and maximum well-being?

Many may wonder how it is possible to still continue exalting the cross today. Hasn't that morbid way of living, exalting pain and seeking suffering, been superseded forever? Must we go on nurturing a Christianity focused on the agony of Calvary and the wounds of the Crucified One?

Undoubtedly, those are very reasonable questions that need a clarifying response. When we Christians look on the Crucified One, we aren't exalting pain, torture and death but the love, closeness, and solidarity of God who wants to share our life and our death to the end.

It isn't suffering that saves us but the love of God that stands in solidarity with the sorrowful history of human beings. It isn't the blood that cleanses us of our sins, really, but the unfathomable love of God who welcomes us as His children. The crucifixion is the event in which His love is best revealed to us.

Discovering the grandeur of the Cross isn't attributing some sort of mysterious power or virtue to pain but confessing the saving power of God's love when, incarnated in Jesus, He goes forth to reconcile the world to Himself.

In those outstretched arms that can no longer embrace children and in those hands that can no longer caress lepers or bless the sick, we Christians "contemplate" God with His arms open to receive, embrace, and sustain our poor lives, broken by so much suffering.

In that face dimmed by death, in those eyes that can no longer look tenderly upon prostitutes, in that mouth that can no longer scream its outrage about the victims of so much abuse and injustice, in those lips that can no longer express His forgiveness to sinners, God is revealing His unfathomable love for humankind to us as in no other gesture.

Therefore, being faithful to the Crucified One is not seeking crosses and suffering but living like him with an attitude of devotion and solidarity, accepting, if necessary, crucifixion and the evils that might befall us as a result. This faithfulness to the Crucified One isn't a glorification of suffering [dolorista] but is hopeful. For a "crucified" life, lived in the same spirit of love with which Jesus lived, only resurrection awaits.

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